Travis Ganong is an up-and-coming U.S. Ski Team Alpine racer. Ganong hails from Lake Tahoe, Calif. where he grew up skiing at Squaw Valley. In 2012, he finished 12th, a career best, on the famed Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria. When he’s not racing, Ganong spends his time free skiing and even did some big mountain skiing this past summer in Alaska for Warren Miller’s latest film: Flow State. Ganong will be blogging for OnTheSnow throughout this World Cup season as he prepares for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur for me. It started off in Beaver Creek where I won one of the training runs prior to the Birds of Prey race. From that moment until now, there has not been any time to really slow down and reflect on my skiing or my season. From there I went home to Tahoe for a few days of amazing early-season powder skiing (it has snowed over 25 feet so far this season at Squaw Valley), and then I headed over to Europe for the pre- and post-Christmas downhill races at Val Gardena and Bormio, Italy.

I arrived in Val Gardena to beautiful winter conditions. There was not a ton of snow, but the snow that they had was great and the temps were cold and the skies clear. True winter! We trained for a few days beneath the amazing Dolomites, and even had the chance to free ski the famous “Saslong” downhill course before the training runs started.  

Val Gardena is an amazing place. The mountains surrounding the town are some of the most breathtaking peaks in the world, you can ski for hundreds of kilometers from village to village over countless passes on an almost endless network of high speed lifts with amazing huts all around. Then, there is the Downhill course itself. This hill has more jumps than any other Downhill in the world and it is like skiing at 80 mph through a four-mile-long terrain park! I love it. You leave the ground 21 times from top to bottom. This year our team had an amazing prep for the race, and on race day, even though the start was lowered due to wind and weather, we were ready.

Our team continued its amazing start to the season with Steve Nyman taking the win and I recorded my first career top 10! In the Super G the day before I was able to attack from a start number in the 60s to finish 24! It’s great to be back in the World Cup points in Super G!

From that crazy week in Italy I headed to the sleepy village of Maria Alm to spend Christmas with my girlfriend, Marie-Michele Gagnon who is also a World Cup racer but for Team Canada. It was nice to relax and refocus for a few days. It’s tough not being able to be home for Christmas with my family, but it’s an acceptable trade off for a chance to follow my dream of racing on the World Cup tour against the best skiers in the world. Right after Christmas, it was off to Bormio, Italy, the first “real” downhill of the World Cup season. By “real” I mean it’s one of the classic Downhills that is super intense, a bit scary and a true physical challenge. Stay tuned to my next post to get a recap of Bormio.